Scene-Snippet, Fathers Day Edition (and Weekly Winners)

Happy Sunday! I am basking at home with air conditioning after a week of baking at my top-floor office with the broken AC. I’m off a couple of days and by the time I return, it should be fixed. Then the elevator will be taken out for a while in July, but I’ll wait to complain about that later.

And Happy Father’s Day! My dad passed away in 2001. He was a sweet, kind, sort of quiet but funny man and, yeah, I was more than a bit of a Daddy’s Girl. Anytime my mom got exasperated (often) and said, “We’ll just wait until your daddy gets home,” I knew I was off the hook. LOL. Anyway, I struck gold in the dad department, and even though we lost him too soon, I’m always thankful to have been blessed with him for a father.

So, in looking at my various and sundry books, however, there aren’t a lot of good father figures. Shane in LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP has a good father figure in his uncle, but the most stable dads in all the books belong to Alex and Jake Warin. Their dads, brothers Tom and Eddie Warin, who co-own Warin’s Hardware in Picayune, Mississippi, know nothing of their sons’ preternatural lives. They’re small-town shop owners, overshadowed by their Steel Magnolia wives, and I know a whole bunch of Toms and Eddies from growing up in my own small, Southern town.

RiverRoadSo, from RIVER ROAD, we have DJ and Alex going to Alex’s mom’s birthday dinner at a time when Jake was still fighting off his loup-garou and had poor self-control….

The family gathering wasn’t that bad really, at least not until the fried chicken and mashed potato leftovers were all put away and everyone had finished their hunk of Liz’s coconut cake, which had always been Norma’s favorite.
I’d been roasted and grilled by every female in the family and emerged battered but intact. My Alabama roots gave me some street cred in Picayune that helped make up for the deficiencies of growing up in sin city, a.k.a. New Orleans.
During the process of dumping leftover peas and broccoli casserole into plastic containers and burping the lids, Jake’s sister Juli informed me in no uncertain terms that she knew Jake liked me too and I better not be stringing him and Alex along or she’d have my hide even if I was some hotshot FBI chick from New Orleans and, besides that, they’d expect our kids to be raised good Southern Baptists and not fish-eating Catholic New Orleanians. And she said all that without taking a single breath.
I didn’t know where my Methodist roots fit into the grand scheme of things or exactly whose kids she was planning for me to have, so I just nodded. What’s a wizard next to the wrath of a former Picayune High School cheerleader protecting her males and their future progeny? I‘m not that stupid, at least not most of the time.
Plus, I had a flash of insight that calmed my fear. The fried fowl wrapped in tinfoil wasn’t the only chicken here today. Cluck cluck cluck. Alex wanted me here, pretending to be his girlfriend, so the women would quit asking him when he was settling down. Since Jake was divorced it freed him from the family’s suspicion of his eternal bachelorhood.
Juli and I emerged from the kitchen and joined the rest of the adults in the big family room. Things were winding down, and the TV had been turned to the local news—or at least news from Hattiesburg, the nearest station.
A tiny blonde girl with wispy-fine hair and honey-colored eyes, , no more than four, tugged on Juli’s arm. It was Corey, her oldest.
“Mama,” she trilled, pulling harder as Juli tried to shush her. “Look.”
Our eyes followed her chubby finger toward the front window, from which we could see across the porch and into the yard. Backlit by the late-afternoon sun, Jake and Alex stood nose to nose, arguing intensely. I didn’t think they were discussing Aunt Liz’s coconut cake.
“I bet they’re fighting over you,” Juli said, loud enough for the mamas, Norma and Liz, to hear. I’d have given her a good, hard magical zap if I could’ve gotten away with it. “You need to break it up before they start throwing punches.”
I considered slipping a silencing potion in her glass of iced tea. I had all the basic ingredients in the portable potions kit I kept in my purse and it didn’t take any curing time. A quick trip to the bathroom and I could have it ready.
Tom Warin, every bit as tall and but not quite as brow-beaten as I’d imagined, spoke up for the first time. “Those boys been fighting their whole lives. It ain’t like this is the first time and it won’t be the last. Just let ‘em go at it. They never hurt each other too bad.”
His pronouncement made, he retired to an armchair in front of the TV and ignored the storm brewing in his front yard.
His brother Ed, shorter and obviously the source of his son’s dimples, chuckled and leaned his own chair back to assess the situation. “Nothin’ serious.” He returned his attention to the TV. “They ain’t even bleeding yet. Looks like a cold front’s headin’ in next week.”

Ah, good ole clueless dads, bless their hearts.

Now, did you win a book this week? If you see your name, please email me at suzannej3523 at gmail with your mailing info.

JESS won a $5 Amazon Gift Card for commenting on the BIG MAGIC blog epic. Just need the best email for you.

BN100 won a print copy of T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim collection. Physical address for this one, please.

JANIE M won this week’s Reader’s Choice giveaway and chose ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR. If you’d rather choose a different book, that’s cool too. Just email and let me know title and format.

That’s it for today! Come back tomorrow for a new Reader’s Choice contest and, later this week, some guests (Robin D. Owens will be here on Tuesday) and some silliness!

Also, I’m planning a series of blog posts about various publishing things, so if you have any ideas or burning questions, please leave them in comments or email me. So far, I’m planning to talk about the Kindle Unlimited program and the impact it’s had on authors and also a post about indie publishing and what it is and isn’t—and how it’s changed how we all do business. I tend to think readers aren’t much interested in what goes on behind Oz’s curtain in the publishing world (oh the horror stories I could tell), but I could be wrong. Are these of interest to you as readers?

Scene-Snippet Sunday-Mother’s Day Edition (and Weekly Winners)           


Happy Mother’s Day, everyone, whether you’re a mother (including a fur-mother) or not. It seemed appropriate today for a flashback scene snippet for my favorite scene involving a mother. There aren’t a lot of mothers in my novels—at least not living ones.

Let’s have a trivia quiz to see what you know about my book mothers (answers at the end of the post).

–Which book’s heroine was a mother who’d lost her child?

–How did Randa, DJ, Will, Kell, Shane, and Celestine lose their mothers?

–Which heroine’s mother is a junkie? Whose mother owns an alligator farm?

–What was the occupation of Glory Cummings’ mother?

–How did Vervain, Quince Randolph’s mother, die?

–Which hero’s mother doesn’t know he’s alive?

–Which hero and heroine (different books) are not on great terms with their moms?

Now for a throwback excerpt from River Road, where Alex has begged DJ to go with him to his mom Norma’s birthday dinner in Picayune, Mississippi. DJ agrees, unaware until then that Alex has been fending off his mother’s nosy queries into his personal life by telling her he was dating DJ…for three years. 

Norma Warin’s picture should be in the encyclopedia under the listing for Iron Maiden, or so I deduced. From Alex and Jake, I’d heard wild stories that I hoped had been exaggerated. Norma escorted by security from a Little League game for threatening to tell the umpire’s wife where he’d been the previous Saturday night (it involved a poker game and a stripper). Norma frightening noisy neighborhood kids with a single well-placed look from her living room window. Norma reducing her husband and four grown sons to utter subjection with a steely glare and a compression of lips.

I pondered Norma as Alex drove the Mercedes onto the I-10 ramp, headed north….

 “Is it too late to back out? We could do something fun, like go to a shooting range. You could teach me all about the different kinds of guns.” Alex frowned until he looked over, saw my face, and recognized desperation setting in.

“Mom has called three times this week to make sure you’re coming,” he said.

“Great. She’ll be expecting someone taller.” And prettier, with better social skills and a domestic bone or two.

“She probably thinks you’re pregnant since I’m finally bringing you home to meet the family.”

Oh my God. I closed my eyes and tried to regulate my breathing. Alex laughed and turned the radio back up. The sound of banjos was not comforting.

They finally arrive….

He jerked me closer to him and put an arm around my waist. From a distance it probably looked affectionate, but he held me in a vise grip. I wasn’t going anywhere he didn’t go, and he was heading toward the front door, from which a formidable woman with a helmet of dark hair had just emerged with a big smile on her face.

“Well, bless your heart, you must be Drusilla.” I swear to God Norma Warin sounded just like Shirley McClaine’s character in Steel Magnolias. “We’ve just been dying to meet you, honey.”

She gave Alex a quick kiss, then grabbed my arm and pulled me away from him and into the house. “Aren’t you just the cutest thing? I didn’t realize you were such a little bitty girl. Come on in the kitchen with the rest of the ladies.” I threw a helpless look over my shoulder at Alex and Jake, who stood side by side in the doorway, laughing. Maybe my misery could bring them closer. 

Ha! I always liked that scene. And I imagine it sounded something like this. I have heard each and every one of these sayings, said in exactly this way. These accents are legit for Alabama and Mississippi (where Norma lives). I might have said quite a few of them myself but I will not admit which ones.


Now…did you win a book this week?  If you see your name, please email your relevant info to or use the contact tab at the top of this page. Snail-mail unless otherwise noted. You can always substitute any one of my books for any prize.

JEN M won a $5 Amazon gift card for acknowledging that reading is a creative act!

MIKI and ERIN F both won a copy of Kim Harrison’s THE DRAFTER.

PATTI won a digital copy of Kim Harrison’s SIDESWIPED. Let me know if you prefer Kindle or Nook. (Sorry, this one’s not available in print.)

LIL won last week’s Reader’s Choice and selected the new book from Gini Koch. Let me know if you’d still like that one (and print or digital), or if you’d like to substitute another book up to US$15.

Thanks for reading! Come back tomorrow for a new Reader’s Choice giveaway!

Oh, wait…trivia answers!

–Which book’s heroine was a mother who’d lost her child?

Gillian from Lovely, Dark, and Deep lost her 3-year-old son in an auto accident.

–How did Randa (Penton), DJ (Sentinels), Will (Penton), Kell (Storm Force), Shane (Lovely, Dark, and Deep), and Celestine (Wild Man’s Curse) lose their mothers?

Randa’s mother died of cancer; DJ’s mother died of an aneurysm; Will’s mother died when his father tried to turn her vampire and she didn’t survive the transition; Kell’s mother died in an auto accident; Shane and Celestine’s mothers both abandoned them as children.

–Which heroine’s mother is a junkie? Whose mother owns an alligator farm?

Samantha, from Deadly, Calm, and Cold; Gillian, from Lovely, Dark, and Deep.

–What is the occupation of Glory Cummings’ mother?

She is an attorney.

–How did Vervain, Quince Randolph’s mother, die?

She was murdered by the undead Axe Murderer of New Orleans, protecting DJ and Rand.

–Which hero’s mother doesn’t know he’s alive?

Brody, from Deadly, Calm, and Cold. (I think. LOL)

–Which hero and heroines (different books) are not on great terms with their moms?

Gentry, from Wild Man’s Curse; Robin, from Allegiance/Storm Force; and Glory, from Absolution.

Anybody get them all right? (Looking at you, Roger.) Did I get any wrong (entirely possible)?